The Miami Dolphins handed the New England Patriots their second loss of the season, winning 24-17 on “Sunday Night Football.” Here’s what you need to know:
- The Patriots are 0-2 for the first time since 2001.
- Down 24-17, with a minute to go, the Patriots needed a first down to extend the game. Mike Gesicki appeared to be short of the first down before lateraling the ball to offensive lineman Cole Strange who barreled forward to the line to gain.
- After review, Strange was deemed short, leading to the Patriots turnover on downs and the Dolphins victory.
- The Dolphins defense limited the Patriots to 288 yards of offense. Miami also forced two New England turnovers.
The Athletic’s instant analysis:
Patriots’ progress on offense is gone
All the progress it felt like the Patriots’ offense made last week against the Eagles is gone now. The Patriots played a Dolphins defense that got torched a week ago by the Chargers. But this group of Patriots struggled to move the ball. They averaged 4.1 yards per play. They managed only 88 rushing yards. Their only play more than 14 yards was a Mac Jones scramble. This Patriots team lacks explosive weapons and it showed Sunday night. They have to hope to wear down teams with a plodding style while the defense plays well. — Graff
The Patriots’ two dynasties were built in part by a head coach who was so good at taking away what the opponent did best. Against the Dolphins Sunday night, Bill Belichick tried to take away Tyreek Hill. The strategy, which often involved three safeties on the field and someone always over the top of Hill, worked to keep him in check with only 40 receiving yards. But the Dolphins still had success elsewhere. The Pats bet that the Dolphins couldn’t yield explosive plays without Hill — and they did. The Pats bet that the Dolphins couldn’t run the ball effectively — and they did. There were a lot of miscalculations defensively. — Graff
Tua utilizes complementary pieces
The Patriots dared Tua Tagovailoa to methodically work his way down the field, and gladly obliged. With the Patriots using a deep shell over the top of their defense to prevent the big plays to Hill and Jaylen Waddle, Tagovailoa utilized his complementary pieces with quick, efficient passes. He made crisp reads and throws to offset the Patriots’ pass rush — with the exception of the fourth-quarter pick to Christian Gonzalez — and the Dolphins were in control for most of the night.
Hill (five catches, 40 yards, one TD) and Waddle (four catches, 86 yards) weren’t huge factors on the stat sheet, but it didn’t matter because the Patriots couldn’t stop the rest of the Dolphins offense. — Howe
Dolphins overwhelm Patriots offensive line
The Dolphins didn’t need linebacker Jaelan Phillips to overwhelm the Patriots offensive line. Phillips, who worked out before the game, was inactive with a back injury, but the Dolphins still had four sacks and seven quarterback hits. It’s also not a stretch to say five of the Patriots’ 10 possessions (excluding the first-half kneel-down) had stalled because they couldn’t handle the Dolphins’ pressure, either run or pass blocking. While the Patriots have some major O-line issues, it was still up to the Dolphins to make the plays, and they did enough. — Howe
Highlight of the game
WOW THE PITCH!
— NFL (@NFL) September 18, 2023
(Photo: David Butler II / USA Today)